“We must keep this form going”

Hastings United captain Lee Carey tussles for possession against Kingstonian. Picture by Terry Buckman
Hastings United captain Lee Carey tussles for possession against Kingstonian. Picture by Terry Buckman

Sean Ray insists Hastings United must maintain their new-found form over the final 15 days of their season.

The U’s have gone from bottom to third-bottom of the Ryman Football League Premier Division courtesy of back-to-back wins and clean sheets against Kingstonian on Monday and Harrow Borough on Thursday.

Although now outside the two relegation places, player-manager Ray is well aware that the job isn’t done yet. United still have seven matches remaining, starting with a visit from mid-table Hendon today (Saturday).

Ray said: “We’ve got something to build on. It’s in our hands, but it’s only a starting point. We’ve got to keep going now. We’ve got to make sure we keep our standards, keep the discipline, keep the commitment and keep the togetherness.

“We’re going to be tired, but we’re going to be mentally strong and we’re going to get there. I’m going to fight, I’m going to battle to the end of the season and my players are going to be fighting alongside me.”

The curse of injured goalkeepers, however, seems to have spread to the strikers. With Zac Attwood, Bradley Goldberg and Dee Okojie already out, Bailo Camara and Gareth Williams went off in the first half against Harrow, leaving Sam Adams up-front on his own, a role he performed manfully.

“It’s not good, but we’ll roll our sleeves up and get on with it,” Ray added. “We’ll go with what we’ve got and they’ll give us everything they’ve got. They’re all going to stand up and be counted, and every single player is going to show they want this.”

The match is subject to a precautionary 9.30am pitch inspection. United groundsman Simon Rudkins wrote on social network site Twitter last night that the surface should be fit in the event of no more rain, but was concerned by the weather forecast for the afternoon.

Sidley United’s scheduled visit from East Grinstead Town in Sussex County League Division One, meanwhile, is subject to a 9am pitch inspection. News of any postponements will follow.

TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES (3PM UNLESS STATED - WEATHER PERMITTING)

Ryman League, Premier Division: Hastings Utd v Hendon.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Rye Utd v Arundel 2; Sidley Utd v East Grinstead Town 2.

Division 2: Bexhill Utd v Steyning Town 2; Little Common v Southwick; Storrington v Westfield.

Reserve Section (Premier): Rye Utd v Saltdean Utd 4.30.

Reserve Section (East): Bexhill Utd v Southwick 4.30; Peacehaven & Telscombe v Westfield; Sidley Utd v Shoreham 4.30.

Suburban League, Premier B: Thamesmead Town II v Hastings Utd II.

ADA East Sussex League, Premier Division: Hollington Utd v Ninfield Utd; Robertsbridge Utd v Langney Wanderers; Rock-a-Nore v Hooe Sports 1.30; Spartan 04 v Peche Hill Select; Ticehurst v St Leonards Social.

Division 1: Bexhill AAC v Catsfield 1.30; Ore Athletic v Eastbourne Albert; Orington v Hollington Utd II; Sandhurst v Mountfield Utd.

Division 2: Battle Baptists v Hastings Rangers 1.30; Herstmonceux v Windsor; Icklesham Casuals v Eastbourne Dynamos; Little Chelsea v Wadhurst Utd; Northiam 75 v Sedlescombe Rangers.

Division 3: Eastbourne Fishermen v Punnetts Town; Pebsham Sibex v St Leonards Social II 3.30; Rock-a-Nore II v Wittersham 3.30; St Helens v Ninfield Utd II (double header) 2; Travaux v JC Tackleway.

Division 4: Bexhill Utd III v Peche Hill Select II; Herstmonceux II v West Hill Utd; Iden II v Eastbourne Rangers (double header) 2; Mayfield v Guestling; Peasmarsh Utd v Eastbourne Athletic (double header) 2.

Division 5: Grasshoppers Old Boys v Icklesham Casuals II (double header) 2; Sedlescombe Rangers II v Bexhill AAC II; Westfield III v FC Bexhill; Wittersham II v Battle Baptists II.

Division 6: Battle Baptists III v Bexhill Rovers 3.30; Hawkhurst Utd II v Robertsbridge Utd II; Little Common III v Herstmonceux III 1.30; JC Tackleway II v Orington II (double header) 2.